Eight men were found dead and beheaded in a mangrove in Brazil following a series of gun battles that erupted between the military police and a drug gang in a Rio de Janeiro slum.

Daily Mail reported that the gunfight happened during a police operation in the city of Sao Goncalo in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday and Sunday evenings after the death of Sergeant Leandro Rumbelsperger da Silva, who was shot while on patrol on Saturday.

The Special Police Operations Battalion (BOPE) then mobilized to a complex of slums called Salgueiro in Sao Goncalo, dominated by drug traffickers, and a confrontation broke out.

The eight bodies were discovered on Monday morning near the favela complex of Salgueiro. A resident said the bodies, with signs of torture, were thrown into a mangrove swamp and were tossed one on top of the other, adding that it "was clearly a massacre," Reuters reported.

A wife of one of the men killed alleged that her husband was taken by force from their home and was executed by cops.

The wife of Jhonata Klando Pacheco Sodré, 28, who requested anonymity, told Brazilian newspaper Extra Globo that his husband was removed from their resident and murdered by authorities along with seven other individuals.

She also told G1 that police had taken the men alive and stabbed them to death. She went on to say that the men have no genitals, eyes, legs, and arms.

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Military Police and Drug Gangs in Brazil

According to Al Jazeera, the military police entered the area to "stabilize" the violence from alleged drug gangs. Police said two pistols, ammunition, more than 800 bricks of cannabis, and over 3,000 packets of a substance resembling crack cocaine were seized in the raid.

According to an internal police memo obtained by Extra Globo, around 75 members of the military battalion were deployed to regain control of the slum. The slum is currently being operated by drug gangs under the direction of Antonio Ilario Ferreira, who was freed from prison in 2019 after serving a 27-year sentence.

Rights group Fogo Cruzado said this scene was one of the 58 shooting incidents in Rio de Janeiro this year. It noted that out of those numbers, 43 were during police operations.

Rights groups had accused police of carrying out summary executions after a bloody operation in May in the favela of Jacarezinho left 28 people dead.

Authorities in Brazil Denied Torturing the Victims

Authorities have denied that the officers involved in the operation tortured the men discovered in the mangrove. However, Cleonice da Silva Araujo told Extra Globo that her brother Elio da Silva Araujo, 52, was beheaded by the police.

Elio was arrested for robbery in 2013. Cleonice noted that she would accept the incident if her brother was shot, but he was beheaded. 

The mother of 17-year-old Kaua Brenner Goncalves Miranda told the news outlet that one of his son's fingers had been cut off. Autopsies conducted on the eight men found at the mangrove reportedly showed that rifle bullets also hit them in the chest and head.

So far, reports said that officers from the 7th military police battalion, where Da Silva was assigned, had already killed 1,096 people this year. It was the highest of any battalion in the state and up 17 percent from the first nine months of 2020.

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This article is owned by Latin Post.

Written by: Mary Webber

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